Parenting Matters: Making Halloween safe

Cynthia Martin discusses Halloween safety with your children

Halloween is a favorite of children. How nice to go up to people and ask them to give you something and they give it to you. Then you go ask someone else and the same thing happens. No other holiday is like this.

Adults don’t always have as positive a feeling about this day. But they really should look at this day as one of the few that they have such a positive relationship with so many children.

What can you do to make it especially nice for your child or for other children this year? The most important thing is to make it a safe holiday. That begins by making sure your child is properly supervised. Don’t let your young child go alone. Then you can be sure that they pay attention to what is happening at street corners and they use traffic signals and crosswalks properly. This is a good time to make sure they look both ways before the cross the street. They can only do this if they have put all their electronic devices down and they have their heads up when they get ready to cross the street.

Always have them walk on the sidewalks and not in the street. Even though drivers are careful on this night because of the many children everywhere, the child also must be careful.

Make sure your child’s costume is safe. You even can use some reflective tape or stickers to help him be visible at night. Use face paint and makeup instead of masks which make it difficult for a child to see. Even having them use a flashlight helps them be seen by drivers.

Consider going to especially safe areas. We are lucky in Sequim that many of the businesses are helping make Halloween safe by offering treats to the kids who come to their place of business.

Always avoid the areas that are dark or where you have to cross a lot of streets. It is even best to go trick or treating in a neighborhood where you know people. Let your child know that he never should go into anyone’s house unless he knows them.

If you aren’t sure about going to a house, check if the porch light is on. If not, that’s usually a sign that they aren’t home or they don’t want any trick-or-treaters.

After all the treats are gathered and before your child starts eating the treats in his bag, you’ll want to get a good look at them. Make sure your children know that the treats have to wait until they get home.

At home, have him dump everything out and let you see what he has. You can help get rid of stuff your child shouldn’t eat. For instance, you don’t want him to eat anything that’s loose or not in a wrapper.

Anything unwrapped, including fresh fruit, should be thrown away. Without a wrapper, it’s hard to tell if food is clean and safe to eat.

Make sure your child knows that you will be saving most of the candy for another day. It is certainly always best not to overdo it. Let him pick a reasonable amount to eat and let him know he can have some tomorrow and in the days and weeks to come. Halloween can be even better by making it last a little longer!

Help make this day as sweet as possible by keeping children safe. Your child doesn’t think about safety. He is thinking about sweets.




Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. Reach Martin at or at 681-2250.